Jan 5, 2012; San Antonio, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Dominique Jones (20) drives to the basket past San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) during the first half at the AT
Dallas Mavericks (3-1) vs. San Antonio Spurs (2-2)Time: 5 p.m. (Replay: 3 a.m. on NBA TV)TV: SLBBVenue: Cox Pavillion
Cory Joseph isn’t alone. It isn’t an uncommon situation to be drafted in the late first-round without much to show for that selection after a couple of years. These players aren’t perfect by their very nature and only a handful are able to immediately make an impact. The rest must stave off the initial disappointment and work harder to, if not eliminate their deficiencies, highlight their strengths while covering their weaknesses.
Joseph’s timetable was stunted by the lockout. It is this year that could be a make-or-break scenario for Joseph; San Antonio will be pressed into making a decision on his team option, worth $1.2 million for the 2013-14 season. That kind of pressure should be encouragement enough.
Saddled with the burden of a first-round pick yet possessing second-round talent is a difficult hurdle to cross when you’re 20-years-old. He’s played well in Austin and in his first Summer League given the circumstances.
Dominique Jones of the Dallas Mavericks is an identical scenario. He, too, was picked late in the first-round. With 403 empty minutes with Dallas to show for his selection; Jones has taken the initiative this year. He’s averaging 20.3 points per game in Summer League and looks comfortable for the first time in his entire career.
For guys like Jones and Joseph, confidence is all you need.
Some Mavericks of note to watch tonight:
Dominique Jones– Jones has prototypical size for a 2-guard and enough scoring ability to hang at the NBA level. Jones totaled 32 points and eight rebounds in his first Summer League game before settling down a tad; through four games, Jones is averaging 20.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and five assists per game. We may not see a ton of Jones today as Dallas may decide they’ve seen enough of him. This is an important season for him because he needs to develop quickly to solidify his role with Dallas — he has a team option for the 2013-14 season.
Jae Crowder– Due to his energy and rebounding ability he has drawn some comparisons to Kenneth Faried. Crowder is actually more undersized and thus less likely to make an impact at the NBA level even if his skills translate relatively well. But, if his play so far indicates anything, he’s ready to make the jump to the NBA. Whether he’s a better fit for the 3 or 4 position remains unclear; which, honestly, isn’t a huge problem as some make it out to be. Dallas should be encouraged, not discouraged by his tweener classification, that Crowder is averaging 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals through four games. Keep in mind that he’s remained effective despite a below-average true shooting percentage (48.2%). Even though they are Mavs fans, they are justified to be excited about their 2012 second-round pick.
Bernard James– In addition to a heart warming story — James spent six years in the US Air Force, eventually becoming a staff sergeant and serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar prior to playing at Florida State — he has legitimate ability. Standing at 6’10” gives him the luxury of imposing his will on his less talented opponents, the fact that he was a second-round pick is merely because of his age (27), and that has translated to Vegas. He leads Dallas in rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage with averages of 9.3 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 59.4% shooting. James isn’t an adept scorer but he can get by with his height at this level. Make sure to watch out for James tonight as he’ll be tasked to protect the rim.
Justin Dentmon– The former Spur was invited to play with Dallas in Vegas. We know the D-League MVP can score easily but we aren’t sure if that’ll be enough to survive in the NBA. Denmon earned his first start yesterday; he finished with 12 points, two assists and one rebound. He’s a scorer right now and not much else. I’m intrigued to see how he plays against his former team.